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Uganda: priest escapes ambush

 The parish priest of Moroto, in northeastern Uganda, survived a dramatic ambush on Sunday. Fr Charles Omenya, diocesan priest of Moroto, was returning to his village along the road from Moroto to Kotido (around 400km from the capital Kampala), when his car came under a hail of gunfire from a group of Karimojong bandits. Fr Charles tried to turn his car to avoid them but it stalled and caught fire. He jumped out and ran into the bush pursued by his attackers. After a chase, some of the Karimojong caught up with him, but he managed to persuade them to let him go, after giving them some money. Speaking from Kampala, Fr Guido Oliana, Provincial Superior of the Comboni missionaries said that the incident was not unusual. According to Ugandan authorities, violence has escalated in Karamoja in the past weeks, to the point that the armed forces of Kampala have deployed troops in the region to contain clashes between tribal groups over cattle and grazing land. According to the Ugandan independent Monitor news service, at least 45 people were killed in clashes recently between Karimojong and Pokot warriors. Samburu, Bokora, Pokot, Turkana are some of the ethnic groups that move across the invisible borderlines between Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, engaging in violent clashes linked to cattle raids or the use of grazing land. In December 2001 the Ugandan government tried to clamp down on this type of violence by launching a weapons amnesty programme in the area and calling on Kenyan authorities to do the same with the Pokot and Turkana, Nilotic tribal groups over the border. Source: MISNA